Leo, seven years later

“So how much am I going to get paid?” Leo asks. A good question indeed… but coming from a seven year old, slightly unexpected.

“How much do I get for being a model?” he insists.

“Well, Leo, you get the glory that comes with appearing on my site.” He eyes me suspiciously as if my sole purpose in life consisted of ripping off little children. “I want money”, he says in a tone reminiscent of Addie Loggins in Papermoon.

I have known his mother, Isa, since the mid-eighties, when we attended school together in Brussels, formed a student union, fomented a revolution, and went our separate ways. My path led to Texas, hers to Thailand but always with a foot in Belgium.

Christmas 2001: I found her with child. I had not expected it. I knew nothing about it. I rang the doorbell and she opened the door with the tiniest wee baby in her arms. The baby wore a strange hat. That was the future negotiator in chief, Leo.


Luckily, I had my camera with me! It’s not as if I would not have come back to photograph him but you have no idea how difficult it is to park in Brussels when you have completely lost the habit to parallel park in spots as big as pocket handkerchiefs.


A year later, Leo is up, not yet running but close!


The baby is adorable and not asking for money yet.

Unfortunately, during the next few years, Isa, Leo, and baby daddy Claude spent all their winters in Thailand, on beaches of white sands and turquoise waters. Can’t say I blame them, especially if you live in gray and rainy Brussels, but in the midst of all this whirlwind of international travels, meeting became difficult… until the munchkin began elementary school last year then the nomads got stuck.  The following photographs were taken this Christmas and you will notice that while Isa still looks exactly the same, Leo has morphed into quite a little man.



Next year, I think I’ll have to show up with a pile of cash and pots of money. That kid drives a hard bargain.

7 responses to “Leo, seven years later

  1. GASP! And that child deserves every penny he can get paid! I know the photographer can make anything look good if they are talented, as you are, but I can’t believe that boy isn’t just that gorgeous. His mama better watch out when he’s older! The girls will be all over him.

  2. The top portrait flows such beautiful symmetry between the two faces.
    And baby look at him now.

    It’s a lucky friend that has you as a friend/photographer to chronicle the history of watching this Brussel, sprout.

  3. Talk about capturing personality. I can learn so much from viewing your work. Very inspiring Nathalie.

  4. You should definitely pay Leo, even if it’s just a dollar or two. This kid shows all the signs of turning into a Major Player and there’s a chance he’ll remember his first ever ’employers’ such as you and/or need mug shots done for Annual General Reports and marketing materials.

  5. Thanks for your comments! 🙂

    heather: while I agree on the beauty of the child, I generally do not do the negotiating after the fact! He must learn the hard way. Tough love!

    Bonnie: I wish I was around more to document the Brussels sprout! I only missed 5 years of his life so far! I thought mom and boy were pretty damn good-looking together. Isa has the best eyes!

    : Thanks! At least you have a few models right there in your house and you don’t even have to pay them! Perhaps I could persuade you to become a portrait photographer in time.

    Epic: I’m not paying nada. With the parents he has, a nomadic zen mom and an artist painter dad, I somehow doubt he will turn into a Donald Trump (with much better hair.) 🙂

  6. LOL, I still have to persuade my in-house models everytime I want to make photographs. And you might have already infected me with portrait photography. Ah, I need a proper camera and lens for this stuff.

  7. strangely enough i will soon be in Texas!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s